The Joy of Bone-Exhausting Work

By Leo Babauta

Over the last week, my family and I moved to a new home, away from San Diego and into the suburbs east of Los Angeles (to be near family). As usual, we did all the moving ourselves, and it was exhausting!

We don’t have a crazy amount of stuff for a family our size, but all of our furniture seems to be made of incredibly dense, heavy wood. Even with three strong sons helping me move, we were all wiped out after one day of loading a huge moving truck, and another day of unloading.

Sore and tired, to the bone.

I’m still recovering. But I have to say, this deeply tiring physical work was a time of joy for me. It was stressful, my body suffered, it wasn’t easy or comfortable. But some of the best experiences can have all of that, mixed in with satisfaction, appreciation, and joy.

You pour yourself into something, and are completely present. It demands all of your focus, and you aren’t running to distractions and comforts. You have to take on difficulty, overwhelm, and stress – so you just accept it, and do it without complaint or looking for the exits.

How can we create that in our daily lives, without needing to take on hard physical labor?

You collapse afterward, lying on the floor panting, your muscles screaming for rest. You look back on the day with satisfaction of accomplishment, knowing that you did your best and achieved a big chunk of work for the day.

How do we create that satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment in our daily lives?

You spend a few days taking it easy, resting and recovering. Nourishing your body. Taking naps when needed. Deep rest, deep sleep. Full appreciation for your body. Healing. Taking care of yourself. Knowing that this recovery is so important to growth. Knowing that you deserve some delicious rest.

How do we create this sense of self-care and nourishing and true rest, in our daily lives?

There is deep joy in bone-wearying physical work. But this can be an awakening lesson for our daily lives. Let’s create the same deep joy, every damn day.